MILITARY historians have launched an appeal to locate a medal won by a Great War tank commander a century ago at the Battle of Amiens.

Bovington Tank Museum wants to find the Military Cross (MC) awarded to Second Lieutenant Harold Whittenbury, the commander of the museum's Mark V tank.

Harold's heroics during the battle, which included ramming a building with his tank, earned him the bravery medal. But its whereabouts are unknown, and museum staff have uncovered little about the man who commanded the tank that is on display.

Museum curator David Willey explained: "The tank itself returned to the UK after the war and was used here for training during the 1920s.

"It was maintained and continued running and was used in parades, demonstrations, TV shows and was even put to use demolishing a cottage in 1938.

"To preserve the machine it eventually stopped being run, but it remains one of our most popular exhibits.

"However, we'd love to know more about the man who commanded it so successfully at the Battle of Amiens – and we'd love to find his Military Cross and possibly display it."

What is known is that 26-year-old Harold, from Manchester, was protecting Australian troops with the Mk V on August 8, 1918.

The citation on his MC reads 'In addition to destroying many dumps of ammunition he rendered valuable assistance to the infantry who were held up by machine guns in an isolated building.

'At first, failing to subdue the fire from this building, he three times rammed it with his tank, which had the desired effect.

'He fought his tank with great skill and judgement, keeping up such hot fire on machine gun nests that the infantry were able to continue the advance.'

After the attack the crew were exhausted, having fired 87 high explosive and 18 'case shot' six pounder shells, along with 1,960 machine gun bullets. Two crewmen were also 'gassed' by the tank's petrol fumes.

Whittenbury was listed as living in Deramore Street, Rusholme, Manchester, in 1911, and enlisted in a 'pals' battalion of clerks and warehousemen in 1914.

He transferred to the Tank Corp during the war, and after the hostilities, in 1920, married Lucy Naylor in Manchester, going on to have two children, Hilda and Bernard.

Harold died in Manchester, aged 88, in 1980.

Mr Willey said: "Further than that we know very little which is why we are appealing for anyone who knows any more, or the whereabouts of his MC or other medals, to contact us. The centenary of the battle is approaching and we are marking the occasion and would love to be able to tell visitors more about the man who commanded our Mk V tank."

The Battle of Amiens, also known as the Third Battle of Picardy, was the opening phase of what was later became known as the Hundred Days Offensive, which began on August 8, 1918, and ultimately led to the end of the First World War.